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Narrative Works Conveyed Using Sequential Art

Batman; Whatever happened to the caped crusader?Batman; Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader? By Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert. It appears that Batman is dead! Robin reminisces about the time Batman punched a dinosaur in the face and how cool he was. The Joker has a Jokermobile and it’s all so conceptual. Good stuff from Mr. Coraline.

The Avengers; Red ZoneThe Avengers; Red Zone by Olivier Coipel. It’s another pickle for the Avengers! This time Red Skull has infiltrated the American government (which must be particularly galling for Captain America) and he plans to release a biological weapon. Iron Man would probably be ok in his iron suit, but he helps out anyway because he’s just an unselfish and helpful kind of guy.

The Vornov PlotThe Voronov Plot by Yves Sente and Andre Juiliard. Our lads Blake and Mortimer are charged with averting the threat of a biological weapon (yes, another biological weapon) and must also smoke from pipes the entire time (that’s what it looks like anyway). They’d better succeed, as world peace depends on it!

Final Crisis; RevelationsFinal Crisis; Revelations by Greg Rucka, Philip Tan and Jonathan Glapion. There’s a new god in town, an evil new god! Darkseid instructs his followers in a religion based on crime, which sounds fun for a little bit, until you realise how inconvenient it would be if eveyone just stole things all day long. Spectre, The Question and Batwoman to the rescue then.

Green Lantern; Rage of the Red LanternsGreen Lantern; Rage of the Red Lanterns by Geoff Johns. Arriving in time to whet your appetite for the upcoming movie are a few new Green Lantern graphic novels, such as this one. This time the Green Lantern is in hot water with the Red Lanterns and must use every inch of his powers to save his hide.

Who Is Arcade Fire?

The 53rd Grammy Awards were held earlier this week in Los Angeles. There were plenty of notable stories from the event, Lady Gaga dressed up as an egg for example. But the one that amused us the most was the reaction to Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs winning album of the year, it seems that a large chunk of music fans around the world didn’t even know who they were. And were outraged. Which was hilarious.

We here at Teen Blog clearly approved of the decision as it was the only album of the year nominee on our Librarian’s Choice page.

Latest Sounds

clubbers guide spring 2010

Clubbers Guide, Spring 2010
If you are aware
of Ministry of Sound you
know what to expect

far east movement

Free Wired – Far East Movement
Does electro-hop
sound like something you would be
interested in?

black eyed peas

The Beginning (deluxe edition) – The Black Eyed Peas
The hologram man
includes some of the end with
the beginning

bring me the horizon

There Is A Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It, There Is A Heaven Let’s Keep It A Secret – Bring Me The Horizon
When Death Metal and
Emo collide, it seems that
long titles result

mumford & sons

Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons
Neatly attired folk
singers nominated for
Grammy with this one

the script

Science & Faith – The Script
Celtic soul trio
get their Maroon 5 on with
the soft rock numbers

Aotearoa Dubsteb Allstarz
Optimus Gryme has
collected New Zealand’s
finest dubsteppers

Some New Graphic Novels

zorroZorro. Volume 2, Clashing Blades by Matt Wagner. Our hero, el Zorro, is pursued by some over zealous military officers who hope to impress a girl by capturing him. The girl of course is in love with the ever rascally Zorro, who will of course escape because he is of course a bad, bad man. Action a-plenty. Adapted from the Isabel Allende novel.

wolverine vs hulkUltimate Wolverine vs. Hulk by Damon Lindelof, illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu. A closely matched fight if ever I saw one, worth a few dollars on pay-per-view for sure. Rather than ruin the ending (you’ll have to read it to find out), here are some interesting facts; the author is a co-creator of TV series Lost and Wolverine also finds time to fight a panda (really, a panda).

the listThe List by Brian Michael Bendis. Fresh off their deathmatch from one paragraph ago, Wolverine and the Hulk are now fighting on the same side against the evil Norman Osborn. They are joined by Spiderman, The Punisher, Captain America, Daredevil and seemingly every other Marvel superhero in excistence. This Norman Osborn chap is quite the fearsome villain you see.

superman new kryptonSuperman; New Krypton volume 2. A long lost part of Krypton is miraculously restored on Earth along with its also long lost Kryptonian citizens. Sadly, humankind doesn’t get along so well with the newcomers and there’s all sorts of conflict. Superman gets torn between his old home and his new home which is emotionally draining. Poor old Superman.

For Your Listening Pleasure

pink

Greatest Hits… So Far! – Pink
Not finished making
hits, compiles previous ten
years worth anyway

lady gaga remix

The Remix – Lady Gaga
A more apt title
would be “The Remixes” as
there are quite a few 

altiyan childs

Altiyan Childs– Altiyan Childs
X-Factor winner
sings other peoples songs for
his debut effort.

infant sorrow

Get Him To The Greek – Infant Sorrow
Russell Brand’s fake band
scores a soundtrack for the film
Get Him To The Greek

Live vol.1 – The Black Seeds
A Teen Blog writer
is thanked in the liner notes,
we are connected

Fragile Thing EP – Tono and the Finance Company
Literate folk-pop
compositions housed inside
excellent cover

Best Mozart 100 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
I cannot believe
they left off Horn Concerto
number 8! Crazy!

Greatest Hits – Frederic Chopin
Long overdue best
of for nineteenth century
piano legend

New Graphic Novels

Hulk no moreHulk. Volume 3, Hulk no more  by Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuiness. Hulk and his buddies, Silver Surfer, Dorma and the other guy have all lost their girlfriends to evil, on their wedding days too! To get them back they must fight Red Hulk, a guy called Tigershark (who has Adamantium teeth!) and two other nogoodniks. Spiderman turns up to crack some wise as well.

study in scarletA Study In Scarlet adapted by Ian Edington from the original text by Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes gets an action-packed graphic novel adaptation. Follow our tweed-clad hero as he investigates a murder, meets Watson for the first time, sleuths up a storm and smokes a curved pipe.

witch and wizardWitch and Wizard battle for Shadowland by James Patterson. Have you always wondered what happened inbetween the first and second “Witch and Wizard” novels by James Patterson? Now you can find out in graphic novel form. Reviews said things like “basically non-stop action” and “action-packed” so, you know, expect action. Also magic, the protagonists are a witch and wizard after all.

Simpsons comic extravaganza by Matt Groening. Lots of Simpson-y adventures collected in one handy volume. On a related note; what is your favourite Simpsons episode? A friend and I discussed this the other day and it was very difficult to decide. It is a worthy debate that could probably spawn a top ten list…

The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds. Books get adapted into graphic novels all the time, epic poems, not so much. Homer’s The Odyssey is one such instance and it’s rather good too, not only does it practically count as studying for Classics, but it’s entertaining at the same time. Your correspondent awaits a similar version of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with baited breath.

Also new this week are Ouran High School Host Club volumes one, two and three. It’s a self-described screwball romantic comedy in which our heroine, Haruhi, must work at a club dressed as a boy in order to repay a sizable debt. Smooth sailing does not follow.

New Compact Discs

duffy

Endlessly – Duffy
Shyness forgotten,
the spotlight’s glare now embraced,
pop moves to the fore.

crowded house

The Very, Very Best Of – Crowded House
These three discs are as
crowded as a crowded house
hahahaha jk.

good charlotte

Greatest Hits – Good Charlotte
Identical bros
longetivity ensures
Christmastime release

 

cardiology

Cardiology – Good Charlotte
Oh, you wanted more?
Perhaps these “heartfelt” tunes will
scratch away your itch.

mariah carey

Merry Christmas II You – Mariah Carey
Second in series
of seasonal themed songs from
singer of Someday

glee christmas

Christmas Album – Glee
More seasonally
appropriate recordings,
this time from Glee Club.

tinie tempah

Disc-overy – Tinie Tempah
Rapper shares birthday
with Synthesiser Patel.
Good for him, I guess.

Semi-Charmed Life – V/A
Unlucky enough
to have missed nineties alt-rock?
Not with this you’re not.

Now That’s What I Call Haiku

Now That’s What I Call Music 34

Erstwhile collection
doubles runtime in thirty-
fourth incarnation

Evolution – Deceptikonz

Is “evolution”
“transformation”? If so, I
expect rapping cars

Humanoid City Live – Tokio Hotel

The last emos in
town turn on the bright lights, turn
dials to eleven

City Limits/Neon Sunrise – I Am Giant

Local X-Games
enthusiasts cut album
full of skater riffs

The Runaways – O.S.T.

Cherry-bombing girls
get biopic that sounds like
a roller derby

New Music And A Year-Old Joke

taylor swift

Speak Now – Taylor Swift

I was going to
write about this but Kanye
interrupted me.

camp rock 2

Camp Rock 2 : The Final Jam

Jo Bros. holiday
productively by kicking
out jams they then sell.

bruno mars

Doo Wops & Hooligans – Bruno Mars

Rising Hawaiian pop-
-star seemingly writes music
only whilst napping.

john legend

Wake Up! – John Legend & The Roots

Legends – self procaimed
and other – shake us gently
awake from slumber.

macy gray

The Sellout – Macy Gray

Apparently to
sell out means bizarre Velvet
Revolver guest spots

concord dawn

The Enemy Within – Concord Dawn

Music is for drum
and bassers, cover is for
entomologists

New Music, New Haiku

linkin park

Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns

Not even the light
from a thousand suns can pierce
maturities’ gloom

shihad

Shihad – Ignite

Stalwarts of local
scene truck on, introduce new
colours to palette

kelis

Kelis – Flesh Tone

Being overlooked
results in a move to the
dancefloor it would seem

scott pilgrim

Scott Pilgrim vs. the world : original motion picture soundtrack

Graphic novel as
film offers up better sounds
than most of its ilk.

interpol

Interpol – Interpol

Self-titled release
indicates return to roots,
results may vary

Television and Movies

New movies and an awful lot of Doctor Who on DVD! Also The O.C.!

Letters To Juliet.

In Verona, Italy – the beautiful city where Romeo first met Juliet – there is a place where the heartbroken leave notes asking Juliet for her help. It’s there that aspiring writer Sophie finds a 50-year-old letter that will change her life forever. As she sets of on a romantic journey of the heart with the letter’s author, Claire, now a grandmother, and her handsome grandson, all three will discover that sometimes the greatest story ever told is your own. (cover)

Doctor Who : The Complete Second Series

Originally released for television in 2006, this is the second season with Billie Piper who older readers might remember for this. Included are 6 discs with more than 18 (!) hours of dalek thwarting shenanigans for fans of the Doctor and sci-fi in general.

Doctor Who. The creature from the pit

This is a selection of Doctor Who from the Tom Baker years (back in the late 70s). The back cover promises regtag groups of bandits, giant eggshells, some things called Wolfweeds and somewhat mysteriously, soething only described as very large with a terrible secret. Also included are a generous selction of special features.

Doctor Who. Spearhead from space

This is from the early 70s, also known to Doctor Who afficianados as the John Pertwee years. Expect mysterious meteorites, people going missing, a man with two hearts, faceless creatures and other irregular happenings. Time is raced against whilst the earth is saved.

Doctor Who. The tomb of the Cybermen

This time from the Patrick Troughton starring 1960s, our Doctor saves the day in black and white. It appears that the Cybermen are all dead, but then it appears that they aren’t. Chaos ensues.  If you watched all the new Doctor Who this week it would probably take an entire day. Think about that.

Doctor Who Series 5, Volume 3

More Doctor Who if you can believe it. This is the newest Doctor, Matt Smith. Once again the world, and universe (I assume), is in danger and only Doctor Who can put things right. I don’t want to ruin the ending, but everything works out just fine.

The O.C. Season Two

The romances of Ryan-and-Marissa and Seth-and-Summer go from very over to very on, Sandy and Kirsten face choices that could trainwreck their 20-year marriage, felon (and Ryan’s brother) Trey gives Newport Beach living a try, Julie’s past comes back to haunt her and others with shady pasts and shaky futures join the scene (cover)

Dodgeball

The comic story of a dodgeball championship. Under the painful tutelage of legendary ADAA champ Patches O’Houlihan, Peter LaFleur and his Average Joes take on the Purple Cobras, led by egomaniacal fitness guru White Goodman.

Just Married

Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy take the cake in this outrageous hit comedy! Sarah (Murphy) is a happy-go-lucky rich girl whose meddling family is as snobbish as it is wealthy. Tom (Kutcher) is a hope-I-get-lucky party guy who prefers sports bars over fancy cars. But opposites attract sidesplitting fun when these two young newlyweds embark on their perfectly planned European honeymoon with disastrous – and hilarious results! (cover)

The DVDs that are the newest

Fullmetal alchemist. Collection 2, Volumes 7-13

“Edward and Alphonse Elric continue on their journey to find the Philosophers stone to restore their lost bodies. In order to do so they must come to face with many people from the past and discover the true purpose of the Homunculi. Will their journey lead them to the promised powers?” – Cover

Resident Evil : Apocalypse

“Heroine Alice is thrust back into the war against the bloodthirsty undead and the fight against the powerful Umbrella Corporation, and is pitted against a super-human super-weapon, who has been unleashed to destroy her.” – Cover

Looking for Alibrandi

“Josie Alibrandi has a lot to deal with right now. She’s 17, got the dreaded H.S.C. in front of her and the boy of her dreams seems completely out of reach. Then there’s that other problem. She’s a wog. Sure it’s where Josie comes from but it’s not where she feels she belongs. In fact, Josie doesn’t know where she belongs. With her Nonna in one ear talking about the old country and the stuck-up girls at her school telling her she’s an outsider, it’s no wonder. This year, however, everything is going to change. Josie will let loose, face her fears, uncover secrets – even discover the true identity of her father. It’s going to be a year when Josie finally finds out where she belongs” – Cover

Trials of life. Volume 1

“Life is one long struggle, a challenge for even the fittest animal. Leaving parents, searching for food, building a home, finding a mate – each day brings a new test. These programs, superbly crafted and originally presented, investigate the many amazing ways in which creatures from all parts of the globe face up to and resolve The Trials of Life.” – Cover

The private life of plants. Volume 1

“David Attenborough’s study of the world of plants, which demonstrates, with the aid of time-lapse photography, the rich and varied ways in which they flourish.” – Cover

Haiku Review: Volume Two

jack johnson en concert

Jack Johnson – En Concert

Jack brings his guitar
around the world, along with
a tape recorder.

pitbull

Pitbull – The Boatlift

A man names himself
after a breed of dog and
raps about strippers.

gaslight anthem

The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

Four guys who enjoy
Springsteen make alt-punk music
and put out record.

american idol

American Idol : Season Nine

Did you watch the ninth
season of Idol? No, well
here is a recap.

beirut

Beirut – Lon Gisland

Can’t think of a thing
to say about this one. So
I apologise.

scouting for girls

Scouting For Girls – Everybody Wants To Be On TV

Everybody
Wants To Be On TV is
by Scouting For Girls.

opshop

Opshop – Until The End Of Time

I heard the singer
has a bunker in his yard
like Ned Flanders does.

Here, Listen

rolling stonesThe Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main St. has been given a deluxe reissue, presumably for its 38th anniversary. On disc number one is the original classic (really, classic) album from 1972, considered by many as the definitive Rolling Stones work and on disc number two are ten bonus tracks originally left on the cutting room floor, but recently given a re-working. Kind of a borrow one free, get another one free deal there.

glee 3Glee : the music. Volume 3, Showstoppers deluxe is the latest from the Glee stable of cover versions. Included on this volume are Glee-a-fied tracks by The Beatles, Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Lionel Richie, Parliament and a whole lot more. It also features a guest spot from Olivia Newton-John. So far five Glee soundtracks have been released – that’s a lot.

jack johnsonThis month polite soft-rocker Jack Johnson released his latest, To The Sea. Mellow acoustic strumming and sleepy grooves with introspective lyrics sit side by side on this one. Jack Johnson fact: he was a professional surfer at the age of 17, but injured himself in his first competition and decided music was the better route. Then his first five albums went platinum and it seemed to be a wise choice.

black keysThis is a short paragraph about an album by The Black Keys. The name of this album is Brothers. This album is their sixth and it seems to be their big commercial breakthrough, reaching number three on the Billboard charts on debut – deservedly so, because it is great. Once I saw them play live and the drummer was playing so hard he broke one of his sticks, but then he picked up another one out of his kit and kept playing without missing a beat. Good stuff.

Australian drum and bassers Pendulum have a new one called Immersion on our shelves. It includes an appearance from Prodigy’s Liam Howlett. Pendulum have received a lot of praise from the drum and bass community since their beginnings in 2002 and it has continued with this release. Make your house sound like a commercial for a snowboard shop.

Local hip-hopper David Dallas used to be known as Con Psy and was one half of Frontline. He dropped the moniker for his solo career because he never introduced himself to people using his alias and felt more comfortable using his birth name. Anyway, his second, Something Awesome is now available.

lcdA contender for Teen Blog album of 2010 is This Is Happening by James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem. Murphy has stated in interviews that this will be his last album as LCD Soundsystem and if so, boy oh boy has he gone out on a high note. More excellent dance music for the rock kids, especially the David Bowie sampling All I Want.

Piles Of Music. Piles!

dead weatherJack White’s second side project gets a second album. Number two for Dead Weather is Sea Of Cowards. They’re fast workers, it’s been less than a year since the band debuted and they’ve gotten through their fair share of touring too. Luckily a busy schedule fits Dead Weather’s jam band style and with the amount of playing together it just means they sound tighter and more assured.

b.o.b.B.o.B is, as far as I know at least, the only rapper ever to have guest spots from Paramore’s Hayley Williams, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo and Eminem on the same album. If that sounds like a baffling mix, it’s because it is. Listen to The adventures of Bobby Ray, though and you’ll come to the realisation that it’s a fair reflection on B.o.B.’s eclectic, energetic style.

A pair of Hot Chip albums; The Warning, from 2006, and Made In The Dark, from 2008. Quirky indie-electro from the UK, it’s dance music for headphones and pop for the fringes. Made In The Dark is the introspective one and The Warning is the awkward dance party. Recommended.

bat for lashesPakistan born, English raised, Bat For Lashes released her second album, Two Suns last year to rave reviews. Cute indie-pop with a pleasing depth to it – there’s a lot going on underneath the catchy surface to reward repeated listenings. If the Cat Powers and the PJ Harveys get heavy rotation on your stereo, this should too.

metronomyNights Out by Metronomy is yet more party focussed electro for our shelves. Slick, exciting and modern, it’s an hour-long soundtrack for a, well, night out. They toured here a few months ago and Teen Blog sources reported a fun, sweaty experience.

justiceParisian electro duo Justice picked up the torch where Daft Punk left off with their debut, Cross. Released in 2007 it reinvigorated the dance genre with it’s anything goes approach and devil may care attitude. Due to the sample heavy nature it sounds like dance music for the rock kids and rock music for the dance kids. Recommended.

Some New Songs

dionne bromfieldHere’s a fun fact about Dionne Bromfield; Amy Winehouse is her godmother. Other facts include her being only just old enough to have a YA card when she signed her first record deal (13), her album, Introducing Dionne Bromfield reached number 43 in the UK charts and is now in our collection. Get it if you like the neo-soul.

john mayerJohn Mayer continues to ride on the adult-alternative train with studio album number five, Battle Studies.  Just based on the title and track names such as Heartbreak Warfare, Assassin and War Of My Life, I’d say it’s a Love Is A Battlefield themed concept album. I guess those high profile break-ups combined with Pat Benatar are good for the creativity. 

daft punkDaft Punk’s Musique Vol. 1: 1993-2005 is a collection of the robotic duo’s singles and most bangerific moments. As the French pair are responsible for some of the highest high points electro has ever reached, it’s a fantastic album. Do yourself a favour and youtube some of their videos, unless of course you don’t enjoy anime, dancing mummies and robots shredding on guitars.

lcd soundsystemJames Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem are another band responsible for some great electro. Their 2007 release Sound Of Silver was (rightly) trumpeted by critics as one of the best of the year and pitchfork.com named All My Friends number two song of the decade. More importantly (?) it gets the Synthesiser Patel seal of approval.

The CDs, They Keep On Coming!

Here are the latest CDs to arrive in the YA collection. There have been a lot lately, but there’s even more on the way if you can believe it.

glee madonnaFirst up is Glee : the music : the power of Madonna. This features Glee cast members singing Madonna songs, as if you couldn’t guess from the very informative title. It’s the soundtrack to the fifteenth episode of Glee, which hasn’t aired in New Zealand yet, which means it’s kind of a sneak preview. Listen to the future! Sort of.

twilightTwilight : music from the original motion picture soundtrack has been deluxe-ified with the addition of a DVD and some bonus tracks. Alongside the original hits from Paramore, Muse, Iron and Wine and the rest are remixes, live versions, acoustic re-workings, interviews, videos and all that sort of jazz. One of the interviews is with Hayley Williams from Paramore, making it a must have for Paramore fans and Twi-hards alike.

ellie gouldingBritish electro-pop starlet Ellie Goulding released debut, Lights, last year to positive reviews after becoming a hit in the blogosphere. Imagine the middle ground between Florence and the Machine and something more poppy, like say, Atomic Kitten and you’ll be right about on the money. If that sounds like a cup of tea you’d enjoy a sip of, you know what to do, issue it obvs.

Taylor Swift’s Fearless has also be given a deluxe-ing and the result is Fearless : platinum edition. Now it includes previously unissued tracks + DVD with music videos, behind-the-scenes footage, photo gallery and awards footage. No word on whether the awards footage includes a bonus interrupting Kanye West. Though it would be an absolute travesty if it didn’t. There’s quite a few extras anyway, so probably worth a look-see if you enjoyed it the first time around.

The Phoenix Foundation’s latest, Buffalo, is here. It’s a continuation of the freak folk/alt-country/pop stylings they’ve been crafting for over a decade now. They’re from Wellington and it’s still New Zealand Music Month for a week or so, which means you should support them by issuing their albums, they’re good.

Former Guns ‘n’ Roses (back when they were awesome) guitarist, Slash, has an album out called Slash. It’s not quite a solo album because every song features at least one of a cast of extremely varied guest vocalists. Which hopefully means there is something for everyone, examples: Ozzy Osbourne, Fergie, Chris Cornell, Adam Levine, Dave Grohl, Kid Rock and Iggy Pop. Quite a mix, huh?

Also, some new DVDs. Totally spies! : the movie, Doctor Who. The masque of Mandragora, Whip it, Doctor Who. Peladon tales, and Naruto. Collection 2, Episodes 14-25

Andmoreagain

grizzly bearGrizzly Bear’s modern masterpiece Veckatimest now comes with a second disc of live tracks. Bonus! Reason enough to issue, even if you’ve already got a copy. If you haven’t heard it yet and you enjoy the work of The Arcade Fire, Radiohead and the rest of the meaningful-core elite, you’ll love it. Because it’s great.

the strokesBack in 2001 The Strokes were the coolest band on the planet, they released Is This It? to five star reviews and they did it with such nonchalance that it seemed totally effortless. Every single band to don a vintage jacket and squeeze into skinny jeans since then has tried, and failed to make a better indie rock record. Highly recommended.

the clashBack in the late ’70s The Clash were the self-proclaimed “only band that mattered”, rather bold, but they got away with it. One of the best bands to emerge from the London punk explosion, The Singles chronicles their rise and growth from White Riot, to Should I Stay Or Should I Go.

flaming lipsEmbryonic is the latest from Oklahoma’s finest, The Flaming Lips. Sprawling psychedelic epicness featuring the MGMT boys and a star turn from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ front-woman and Where The Wild Things Are soundtrack overseer, Karen O, who makes a lot of amusing animal noises. Good stuff.

pavementSlacker-rock heroes, Pavement, have a new greatest hits collection out called Quarantine The Past, to coincide with their much-welcomed reunion tour. It includes tracks from 1989-1999, charting their rise from every hipster’s unknown favourites, to every hipster’s sort-of known favourites. The best of the bunch this week.

the slewThe result of a collaboration between Kid Koala and Dynamite D (as The Slew) to score a since aborted documentary, 100%, is a dark but dry mixture of rock guitar, electronic samples, hip hop and delta blues. Try and imagine that in your head. Well worth a listen for anyone interested in any of the above styles and people who enjoy impressing their friends with odd tidbits about musical origins.

leona lewisX-Factor winner Leona Lewis now has her latest, Echo, on our shelves. From pizza waitress in 2006, to working with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland in 2009, it’s been quite the career shift for the Whitney Houston-esque songstress. It’s a mix of European pop and American R&B that should interest anyone who enjoys either.

So Many New CDs!

usherWhen I first heard the title of Usher’s new record, Raymond vs Raymond, I thought perhaps it was a concept album based on the 1979 Dustin Hoffman starring drama, Kramer vs Kramer. I was sort of right. In the movie Dustin Hoffman and his wife divorce, leaving him to raise his son on his own, whilst in real life Usher and his wife recently divorced, leaving him to raise Justin Bieber on his own. None of that is all that relevant to the quality of the album though, which is top-notch.

mgmt2008’s crossover success story MGMT recently released their oddly covered second album, Congratulations. It’s a more toned down effort this time around, missing are the obvious hit singles like Kids and Electric Feel, but anyone who enjoyed their less immediate, more psychedelic numbers should be pleased with this one.

david bowieDavid Bowie’s excellent two-disc career overview, Best Of Bowie, is now in our collection. Do yourself a favour and track this down, because he is responsible for some of the best rock music ever made. Every song’s a winner, from his Ziggy Stardust days – The Thin White Duke, to whatever he called himself in the early 80s when he seemed to dance about in outback pubs a little too much.

pixiesMy favourite ever band, Pixies, are now in the collection with a best of called Wave Of Mutilation. Don’t just trust me when I say they’re great, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke has openly admitted they were trying to rip off the Pixies on their first album, Kurt Cobain also shared a similar admiration. Noisy, weird and endlessly fun to shout along with.

Volume 2 / Brotha D & the Dawn Raid Family is a compilation showcasing the hip hop and R&B talent on Auckland’s Dawn Raid label. If local hip hip is your thing you’ll be glad to hear from the likes of Monsta Ganjah, Deceptikonz, Aaradhna and more.

xxUK indie buzz band The xx were the subject of much fawning in the music press last year for their debut The xx. Sometimes so much hype can set a young band up for a fall, but The xx overcame the magazine covers to deliver a solid album that should see them on the road to a nice career. If the genre dream-pop sounds appealing, this is for you.

More indie-pop, this time from Local Natives with Gorilla Manor. Described as “afropop-influenced guitars with hyperactive drumming and hooky three-part harmonies”, you know they’re going to be fun to listen to. A more easy listening Animal Collective, perhaps?

80’s goth/pop favourites The Cure are a band you should familiarise yourself with, and what better starting point is Greatest Hits? All the best bits from the post-punk days in 1979, to the elder statesmen pop days of 2001. It’s also a good starting point for the great, great British alternative scene of the 1980s.

Speaking of 1980’s alternative British bands, The Smiths were one of the most influential, and the most pleasingly literate (this is after all a library blog). As a colleague said when we were out buying these CDs, “The Smiths will always have a place in the hearts of teenagers, right?” Right. The sound of The Smiths is a very well compiled best of from Manchester’s finest.

If you’ve ever listened to a rock song and thought to yourself, “this is fine, but it’s a bit over-complicated”, rest assured The Ramones thought the exact same thing. Hey ho let’s go : greatest hits is a great overview from the original punks and the self-described Beatles on speed. It’s not stripped down rock and roll, it’s distilled rock and roll.

Ten is enough for now, but there’s a lot more on the way…

Our Newest Music

There are six new CDs in the YA collection. Here they are…

justin bieber my worldsFirst, and most exciting, is My Worlds by Justin Bieber. This is a handy collection of both of the autotuned youngster’s previous EPs, therefore it represents the easiest way to carry them home. Includes that one song with the video where he organises a party in Usher’s house while he’s out doing groceries and they go crazy with the dancing and silly string. The rascal.

timbalandTimbaland presents Shock value II features quite the spectrum of guests, there’s something for everybody. Visiting friends include Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Keri Hilson, Jet and, ummm, Chad Kroeger from Creed. Is there anyone famous he hasn’t worked with? Probably not, he’s clearly a popular man.

jason deruloLady Gaga’s opening act, Jason Derulo has also been topping charts lately with his debut, Jason Derulo. He’d been writing songs for Diddy and Sean Kingston for a while and decided he should keep some for himself and make an album. Good decision, his R&B styled pop has seen him become a bankable star in his own right.

Evermore by Evermore is a retrospective compilation from Feilding’s second most famous that includes three new songs. Along with all the familiar hits is a DVD that chronicles a European tour in support of P!nk along with a performance at London’s O2 Arena that should have fans excited.

New Zealand singer/songwriter Hollie Smith is back with Humour and the misfortune of others. It’s already made number one on the local charts, so it seems her dubbed out soul will again be heard at cafés throughout Wellington.

Also new in the New Zealand collection is Dane Rumble’s The Experiment. Those of you that remember The Fast Crew will know him as the voice of said group. Those that don’t should expect poppy hip hop.

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